Private schools mull options

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PRIVATE schools are weighing options on how to continue their classes, Mount Carmel School president Dr. Galvin Deleon Guerrero said.

“There are some schools that are sticking to their commitment to reopen on Monday, March 30,” he added. “Others have already begun conducting online classes.”

Deleon Guerrero, who is also the representative of private schools to the Board of Education, said some schools are considering a “hybrid” system: conducting classes online and in person while observing social distancing.

On Monday, MCS teachers started undergoing training in case they need to transition to online learning.

“We are walking all our teachers through the four digital tools that we will be using to make sure that they know them well,” Deleon Guerrero said. “Many of our teachers use many different digital resources. But we want to have a standardized set of tools that we are going to use with all our students so that parents can follow along.”

Majority of MCS teachers have already been certified by the Education Technology Program, Deleon Guerrero said.

Among the tools that MCS will use are Edmodo, Zoom, Khan Academy, and Achieve3000.

Deleon Guerrero said he will also meet with MCS officials to discuss the resumption of face-to-face classes on Monday, March 30.

“Things may change,” he added. “We already have all our contingency plans in place. The question is, do we wait for [the Public School System] to announce that they are going to continue suspending their classes or do we sort of be a bit more proactive and decide to transition online?”

MCS continues to monitor updates from the governor’s Covid-19 Task Force, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., the Office of the Governor, and the Public School System, he added.

Victoria Deleon Guerrero, 2nd left background, Mount Carmel School director of Institutional Development, explains the four platforms that MCS teachers will use for online classes.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

At Green Meadow School, online classes started on Monday.

“This is just ‘testing the waters’ — we need to see if online sessions are feasible for our students,” GMS president Glenn Songcuan said in a phone interview.

He said they need to use a platform that is easy to install.

Songcuan also explained to parents that the online classes this week are not mandatory and are not graded.

On the first day, he said, they used Discord as a platform, adding that many of the students are familiar with it.

Discord is primarily a platform for video gamers, but it has free voice and text chat features and allows streaming, either through a video camera or screen sharing for free, Songcuan said.

Before using Discord for GMS online class, he and the teachers spent up to four days to familiarize themselves with the platform.

“Teachers went online and we video chatted with them through screen sharing to show them all the features of the platform and how to use them,” he added.

For pre-K, preschool, and early elementary students, GMS used Facebook messenger, Songcuan said.

“Using their parents’ FB messenger accounts, the students created groups with their teachers who gave the children instructions,” Songcuan added.

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